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What is the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN) ?

By , May 31, 2009 11:17 am

Many of you keep asking: what is The Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN) ?

The Youth Position Paper on Climate Change that was developed by the Commonwealth to provide the base for wider discussions and open doors for youth to play a part in tacking climate change emphasizes the necessity for inclusion of concrete action plans which involve youth as key actors of their effective implementation. The paper has a number of proposals which encourage the Commonwealth member states to fulfil their commitments and to make climate change a top priority while engaging as many stakeholders as possible. Part of this priority includes the role of youth as negotiators in lobbing Governments to promote education on climate change [and for sustainable development] at the national level and the participation of youth in all political forums and high-level policy meetings where they can explore avenue to include climate change issue into the discussions and as well as encourage policy makers to act and set legally binding targets for reducing emissions and promote environmental protection. The capacity building, exchange of information, education and training on climate change for youth, by youth and with youth is also highlighted in the paper.

To coordinate this effort it has been suggested the idea of creating a Commonwealth youth network on climate change to be a strategic umbrella in mobilizing youth across the Commonwealth and engaging them into projects, activities, research, information and networking days, campaigns, training sessions and others. This also aimed to the mapping of Commonwealth youth leaders and organizations working to respond to climate change and ensure the sustainability of our communities worldwide.

In 2009 the idea became a reality with the set up of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN). The network which aim to build the capacity of youth from the Commonwealth countries, and especially young climate activists, leaders, professionals and their organizations in order to increase their active role in fighting climate change. The same year the Commonwealth Secretariat hold a launching summit in London which attracted more than 150 young people from across the Commonwealth and featured workshops, panel discussions and presentations from partners’ activities. In 2010, one year after the set up of the initiative, a group of 10 leading young activists on climate issues from the network met again during a week to share learning, experiences, visit various projects implemented by others and also plan the production of a practical learning resource for their work. The week-long project was possible with support from the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat and that is how the idea to develop a toolkit was empowered with its focus on several topics like education, advocacy, personal climate action, climate action project as well as leadership and transformation.

Expanding the network and linking actions that young people across the Commonwealth are already doing locally and nationally is one of the main goals of the network so that it has a collective impact and positively affect change toward a sustainable future. The international advocacy plans of the network seeks to form an unified front on climate issues, presenting clear, consistent messages that reflect the diversity of experience amongst young citizens from the Commonwealth. The members believe that they can increase their influence on policy in their individual countries and internationally, both in Commonwealth agenda and other global spaces such as the UNFCCC, UNCBD and UNCSD processes. The members advocate in developing a clear and shared vision for the future of youth in the Commonwealth, so that they can save succeeding generations from the impacts of climate change. They intend to work together to shape the Commonwealth agenda on climate change, attract other partners and prepare mutual partnership between young people and policy makers.

Today the network has increased its membership and count several countries including Australia, India, Canada, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Zambia, Maldives, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Vanuatu, Cameroon, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, Ghana, Nepal … Membership is open to willing individuals and organizations from across the Commonwealth working and interested to work on climate change and sustainable development. They connect to share their expertise and support each other, take action and influence change through their collective voice.

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